According to the leaked image, Radeon HD 6950 and HD 6970 finally part ways with heatpipe cooling and adopt a massive vapor chamber.

Vapor Chamber Heatsink on AMD Radeon HD 6970 graphics card
Vapor Chamber Heatsink on AMD Radeon HD 6970 graphics card

As you can see in the image above, unlike in their previous attempts at Vapor Chamber cooling with modest sized vapor chambers like in ATI Radeon HD 4870X2, the approach with Radeon HD 6900 Series is more akin to Sapphire’s pioneering 3870 Vapor-X, or recently the GeForce GTX 500 Series.

This massive Vapor Chamber cooling is the reason why AMD Radeon HD 6900 Series is achieving remarkable overclocking results, just like the GeForce GTX 580 and 570. We’ve seen GTX 580 working at 895MHz, GTX 570 at 880MHz as well as viewed results of Radeon HD 6970 clocked at 980MHz, and 6950 at 1010MHz. We’ve spoken with numerous board manufacturers and they’re all telling us that this generation of graphics cards is "vintage", with overclocking headroom spanning much beyond the last generation.

Who’d knew, perhaps TSMC is finally maturing their 40nm process.